Picks and Pans Review: Portrait

updated 01/14/1980 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/14/1980 AT 01:00 AM EST

Don Williams

Williams' sound is so austere it is amazing his albums don't all sound alike. What makes them distinctive are his richness of tone and fine material. Then, too, Bob McDill and Wayland Holyfield have filled his albums over the years with ballads and light uptempo tunes that match Williams' resonant baritone. Lloyd Green's pedal steel work also lends subtle fullness to the spare sound. This album's sweetest songs are written by Williams himself, such as We're All the Way, which Eric Clapton included on his Slowhand LP as a salute to his friend. That and You Get to Me rank among the most touching songs Don—or anyone in Music City—has come up with in years. In the latter, Williams sings, "If I could cry bring a tear to your eye/Maybe that's the way/'Cause we're in the strain of livin' your pain/From yesterday." Williams' Portrait is all pleasure.

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